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For previous discussions see Talk:Biophoton/Archive1


There are several distinct threads in this article that need to be teased apart.

Firstly, on the scientific side of things, a distinction needs to be maintained between the emission/detection of biophotons, and the function/signaling quality of biophotons.

The emission of biophotons is not disputed. Just take a photomultiplier tube (PMT), stick it in a dark box with some living tissue and compare counts to the empty box. If you don't have a PMT and still think that its disputed, then find a peer reviewed article that diputes it.

The function of biophotons as a signaling mechanism is not nearly as clear. Gurwitsch's original papers have recived some criticism, and there isn't much else attempting to demonstrate functional signaling. A notable exception is Albrecht-Buehler's work, which is published in the mainstream scientific journal PNAS:

Although this paper does not mention other work on spontaneous ultraweak photon emission from living tissues, it does nicely demonstrate that such photon emission is used for intercellular communication.

Secondly, non-scientific aspects of the phenomena are by definition distinct from scientific aspects, and so should be kept seperate at all times throughout the article, or even better, placed in a different article all together. cheers,


Disastrously horrid article[edit]

I have restored the NPOV and accuracy tags to the top of this page, as, after 3 years of edits, it remains a complete train wreck of blatant POV, pseudoscientific nonsense and a virtual total lack of any skeptical viewpoint regarding the subject. The entire article is rife with laughable nonsense such as "The detection of these photons has been made possible due to the development of sensitive modern photomultipliers. Because of this, the existence of this radiation is no longer disputed..." and other similar statements make this article in my opinion an embarassment to wikipedia. The supposed study of "biophotons" is about as far outside of the mainstream of the biological sciences as you can get. I am starting edits now. --Deglr6328 00:33, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Finished edits removing warnings.--Deglr6328 11:59, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

"The typical detected magnitude of "biophotons" in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum ranges from a few up to several hundred photons per second per square centimeter of surface area, much weaker than in the openly visible". Too late at night but I will do the sums and I find it very hard to believe that the background black body radiation of something at 300K is less than a few hundred photons/cm^2/s. Mtpaley (talk) 00:14, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Praise for rewrite, urge open mind on science[edit]

Deglr, this was an excellent rewrite! Yet, I do think that your condemnation of this scientific exploration is a bit harsh.

In 2006, there is certainly not a narrowly identifiable "mainstream" of the biological sciences anymore, given the rapid acceleration in hundreds of research directions that currently exists. Also, how can electromagnetic radiation emitting from biological tissues ever be outside the mainstream of biological science, when all interactions between molecules are interactions between atoms, and interactions between atoms are essentially electromagnetic (electron, proton, etc.).

I have recently completed a survey of research in this field on behalf of a high-level Russian spectral physicist who has been asked by an international team to develop new instrumentation for investigations in this area. In the past five years, solid articles have been published in reputable science journals (including Journal Photochemistry Photobiology B; Indian J Exp Biol; Übersichtsarbeit; Journal of Biological Optics; Virtual Journal of Biological Optics; Optics Letters; Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS); Bioelektronika; Bioelectromagnetics; Naturwissenschaften) by many researchers other than POPP (IIB, Germany), including TUCHIN Russia: Saratov State University); INABA (Japan: Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University, Katahira 2-1-1, 980 Sendai, (Japan); SCHWABL (Switzerland: Padma AG, Schwerzenbach, Switzerland); VAN WIJK (Netherlands: Faculty of Biology, Utrecht University); NIGGLI (Switzerland: BioFoton AG); RUBIK (U.S.) and SWAIN (US, Boston: Northeastern University).

It seems to have been shown that photons are coming out of cells in the visible and NIR spectral range, albeit ultraweak emissions. The cause seems to be not yet well explained, with numerous theories proposed.

This remains a fascinating frontier of real science, where perhaps skepticism, as previously for the round Earth, plate tectonics and global warming, will be shouted ever more loudly right up to the brink of a paradigm shift. -- Jlancaster 02:04, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

hmm ok well what I mean by the field being 'out of the mainstream' is that I think we can agree that it is not really a phenomenon which is accepted as even really existing by the vast majority of biologists/biochemists. I mean its not like you see in all the latest papers an "ultraweak photon assay" or "biophoton count" or some such as a diagnostic tool. In fact I would point to a scitation search returning very very few papers throughout the past 20 years which mention the subject. Anyway I'd like to see the papers to which you are referring, I can't say I'm guaranteed to be bowled over (SPIE, for instance seems to have no problem publishing any old load of hideous rubbish [1]) but it would certainly be worth a look. --Deglr6328 06:45, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

'I mean its not like you see in all the latest papers an "ultraweak photon assay" or "biophoton count" or some such as a diagnostic tool.' As of early 2011 - it seems to me that there is a good case for ultraweak photon emission as a measurable and useful phenomenon. Searching for ultraweak photon assay does indeed turn up recent studies on it's use as a diagnostic tool, not just for human tissue - but also for use in agriculture. I've not seen much to support the 'cellular communication' aspect (which from what I've seen so far seems speculative and pseudoscientific), but that the emissions can be used as a noninvasive way of getting information about tissue states is surely not still in dispute? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:12, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Skepticism section[edit]

I added the template {{unbalanced}} to this section. Phrases like "This contrasts biophotons with actually controversial topics" make this section very one-sided in favor of the phenomenon. This section should describe the skepticism, not refute it. --Ginkgo100talk 00:56, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I googled "biophoton" and the results are.... well lets say less than believable. Try this 'widely acclaimed book' Quotes such as "biophoton light is stored in the cells of the organism" and "The consciousness-like coherence properties of the biophoton field are closely related to its base in the properties of the physical vacuum" are classic pseudo science. Mtpaley (talk) 00:20, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Schizophrenic article[edit]

This article, which I was going to disambigulate, appears to have been written by at least three views... I have found some papers, but if you read this guy first "Wise Geek" you'll find some similarities with the present article. Some papers are like this one Research???, and there are a few that offer *.pdf files. The author is real and is a professor in the physics department at the University of Helsinki. His homepage; here, puts him in an odd light. Thinghy 23:58, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Believable claims?[edit]

Is there any scientific truth in biophotons or is it mere pseudo-science? The claims here are quite similar to those made by quantum medicine, as practiced in scandinavia. It holds that illnesses can be cured by machines transmitting certain electromagnetic frequencies to the body. (talk) 17:55, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

From what I can tell, the claim that biological tissue emits photons is legit. (It isn't very surprising either) But it doesn't seem likely that these play any part in the metabolism. The article seems to deal OK with this. The article clearly can use some work, with some good refs in the right place. But the subject itself seems to be legit object of research. (TimothyRias (talk) 10:59, 29 January 2009 (UTC))
I agree with TimothyRias. It seems like the field has plenty of pseudoscience within it, but the article (to its credit) describes it as such. Even if the field was 100% pseudoscience (and it may or may not be), that's not in itself a reason to get rid of the article -- after all we have an article on astrology too. :-) --Steve (talk) 01:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Comment We could do with someone who is familiar with journals in biology to check out some of the references. Looks suspect to me. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:53, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Hello! biophotonic emission was discovered by Alexander Gurwitsch in the early 1920s at a time when people were looking for organising forces in the cell. Others failed to replicate his findings. This turned out to be due to faulty equipment but it meant that Gurwitsch was mocked as a pseudoscientist in the USA while Russia used his photonics as a cancer diagnosis for decades! He was only vindicated after his death. So the present results are;

1)existence of biophotism - true 2)association with life-organisation - not proven 3)responds to malignancy - accepted by Russian but not western medical science. 4)cures cancer - pseudoscientific claim still made in the west.

hope this helps. Redheylin (talk) 01:07, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

What are your sources for this claim? Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)


I am taking this out for discussion as it appears to be self-published and non-notable. Redheylin (talk) 01:47, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

One hypothesis is this postulated minor form of communication first became common as single-cell organisms began to cooperate to form complex organisms, using biophotons as a less effective neural system. Kenneth Dillon postulates in his self-published book Intriguing Anomalies: An Introduction to Scientific Detective Work that this form of biophotonic signaling between red blood cells forms the cellular basis of consciousness, a notion which has not received any acceptance in mainstream science.[1]

Nonsense in History section[edit]

The History section states, "He named them 'mitogenetic rays' because his experiments convinced him that they had a stimulating effect on cell division...Their common basic hypothesis was that the phenomenon was induced from rare oxidation processes and radical reactions. Gurwitsch's basic observations were vindicated."

In other words, Gurwitsch felt that biophotons were notable because they increased cell division, and his daughters discovered that biophotons were emitted by "rare oxidation processes and radical reactions" (whatever that means).

But claiming that this shows Gurwitsch to have been vindicated is nonsense, since discovering the cause of biophotons does not show that they increase cell division.

I'm afraid of editing this section, as I have no idea where the truth is in this muddle of pseudoscience. David Spector (talk) 14:20, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Deprod reason[edit]

I am afraid I need to deprod. Not because I believe that this topic is an exemplar of solid science, but because deletion of the whole article, due to some or all of it being pseudoscience, is not uncontroversial. In particular,

  • Discussion on the talk page shows some aspects of biophoton research may be more controversial than others. Some emission of 200-800 nm radiation by biomolecules certainly happens according to the principles of quantum statistical mechanics. Is it detectable against the thermal background? Does it gives some information about the state of the cell? Is it used as a means of cellular communication? More controversial.
  • The likely pseudoscience aspects of the topic appear to be well sourced. It could be that this pseudoscience passes notability guidelines. Then issue becomes not one of deletion, but of due weight.
  • This article has been around for 11 years and has been worked on by many editors, which means it has passed the "patent nonsense" test.

I agree the article has serious problems and we may well have to delete it in the end. But the doubts above show this should be discussed at AfD. --Mark viking (talk) 16:58, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

I have argued for a keep at the AfD page because, although there is a lot of pseudoscience and quack medicine associated with this subject there does seem to be genuine research into it. The genuine research, of course, makes much less dramatic claims than the cranks and con men and this is a good reason to keep the article.
Regardless of its status, the subject is undoubtedly notable enough to have a WP article. The article itself should be a quality review of the subject, allowing the reader to distinguish the real measurements and tentative theories or academics from the exaggerated claims of the charlatans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:57, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
That will require changes to the article almost as radical as deleting and rewriting. If that's what the AfD decides, of course I'll support it. Either way it needs a hard shove. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:10, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Irrelevant data[edit]

In my opinion, the page should be scrapped, and remade according to WP guidelines under the article 'Photon' or some other more suitable article as it is a scientific term which has been misinterpreted.Muthu raama (talk) 13:48, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

- Merging it with bioluminesance seems a pretty reasonable option. (talk) 04:40, 5 June 2015 (UTC)


As it seems there is a consensus to keep but sort out this article I am going to try to start that job. Anyone interested is, of course, welcome to join me. I suggest that we leave the lead until last. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:18, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

My first observation is that many things may not be as bad as they first seemed. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:28, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Some things then:
1. Some tidying was done on 13 March, another user removed a long list of extra refs which did look dodgy but perhaps contained some real science also.
2. The article would benefit from clear statements (plural) in lead and then wherever necessary on what is certainly evidence-based and what is fringe belief-based. At the moment the whole thing still seems to suggest it's all well supported.
3. The article needs/is lacking a clear account of any disputed claims or rival theories - Prof A asserts a' with evidence a, Dr B asserts a' is false because of b, and suggests theory b' instead.
4. Oh, and a clear distinction between this and similar-sounding concepts like photon, bioluminescence, ... would be helpful too. At the moment it still feels as if "photon" is a quantum of light, while "biophoton" is a made-up term, but it would be nice to know why that view is wrong, if it is.
5. And removing the cruft-magnet of See also links might be an idea. What are Prana and Vitalism doing in there? Maybe they're telling us something about "biophoton", eh? To quote from an earlier comment on this talk page, "non-scientific aspects of the phenomena are by definition distinct from scientific aspects, and so should be kept seperate at all times throughout the article, or even better, placed in a different article all together. cheers, Fletch"
Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:19, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for those pointers. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:44, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I rewrote the lead a bit to use more precise terms and to make a start on distinguishing reproducible science fact from fringe hypotheses. I also performed the suggested surgery on the See also section. To try to isolate fact from fringe, I propose rearranging the sections along the lines of:

  • Evidence for biophotons - A detectable signal, at least, seems reproducible, but the claim biophotons form a choerent state seems less solid to me
Agreed. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:07, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Proposed mechanism - a reasonable hypothesis with some evidence to back up it. The claimed mechanism is still in the realm of the mainstream.
Agreed Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:07, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Hypothesized correlation with cellular state - There are some papers claiming correlation due to the link of injury and oxidative stress, but clearly fringe claims arise here, too
Yes, wee need to show this as clearly hypothesised, but by what looks like some reliable sources. ~~
  • Hypothesized role in cellular communication - all fringe, as far as I can tell

Comments or better alternatives? --Mark viking (talk) 11:30, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I agree, this is highly speculative (and in my opinion highly unlikely, it would require remarkable detection efficiency and would be swamped by sunlight, even within the body). It was speculated by an academic in published papers but there is no actual evidence that I can see. Similarly the claimed coherence. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:07, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I have added this because, oddly enough, I think we should say something about it, just to debunk it. It is obvious quackery but to some people the fact we have a page on the subject will lend it credibility. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:07, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I have made a few more changes to the lead, with comments. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:11, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Detection section[edit]

I think we should start with a section on detection, which I have added. THis is the most solid part of the subject. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:20, 21 March 2013 (UTC)


I added a pseudoscience tag and it was rapidly removed. We need to decide if this is correct. Comments? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mtpaley (talkcontribs) 23:16, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

As noted, "See also" is not for categorizing or commenting on the topic. Second, the fact that some individuals make pseudoscience out from an actual and observed physical phenomenon doesn't mean that everything about it is pseudoscience. You could also add the same to Quantum mechanics since a lot of quackery surrounds that, too. ... And if you want to speculate why biophotons appear (this is apparently the problem?), then one could think of the decomposition of the cycloaddition product of singlet oxygen and an alkene, both known to be present in biological systems. But, the sources given seem to be regular scientific articles. Biophotons as a topic of scientific research is valid: it is falsifiable, detectable by anyone possessing a sensitive photomultiplier, knowledge about it may be improved upon scientifically, and it has been published well by multiple independent groups in reputable journals. --vuo (talk) 00:04, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I think the best way forward is to have a section called, 'Highly speculative theories' or the like. Perhaps we should also have a section on Quackery. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:14, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I admit that I put the tag in the wrong place - that was as typo but as a quick test on the (pseudo)scientific status of this I recommend a quick google search for 'biophoton'. Of the first 10 references this is what I get.

1) This wikipedia article - I will disregard this one as a self reference

2) - 'Biophoton streams consist of short quasiperiodic bursts, which he says are remarkably similar to those used to send binary data over a noisy channel'

3) - 'Our ability to address imbalance (illness) on the level of biophotons (first cause) helps us to get rid of all kinds of undesirable symptoms (expressions of incoherent light)'

4) - 'The holographic biophoton field of the brain and the nervous system, and maybe even that of the whole organism, may also be basis of memory and other phenomena of consciousness'

5) - 'This is the instrument that allows you to make antidotes, copy and clone substances, and then transmit those energy patterns to any subject regardless of distance'

6) - a genuine scientific article

7) - 'The laser-like coherence of the biophoton field is a significant attribute'

8) - 'The consciousness-like coherence properties of the biophoton field are closely related to its base in the properties of the physical vacuum'

9) - 'When we eat a green plant, for example, we ingest the biophotons created with the Sun's energy, used and stored by the plant as it grew to maturity'

10) - 'Utilizing a combination of photobiotic light, sound, oscillating radio-waves, harmonic frequencies, energy magnetics, subtle ultraviolet and infrared, along with mild ozone to aid the body’s natural renewal, regeneration and healing process.'

That is a clear 8/9 pseudoscientific score. Mtpaley (talk) 18:12, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

After saying all that the genuine references do seem to agree that organic reactions can create occasional photons in the visible energy range but the pseudoscientific nonsense that has flocked to this cannot be ignored. Mtpaley (talk) 18:14, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Just did the google test on 'Quantum Mechanics' and the first page is mostly popular science articles or links to TV programs. They are not links to peer reviewed papers but none of them are pseudoscience. Mtpaley (talk) 18:19, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

I was the one who removed the pseudoscience tag because I reorganised the article to separete the genuine academic research on the subject from the pseudoscience. The pseudoscience has not been ignored and is now identified as such. We now have a section on speculative theories and quackery. There is real research on this subject, biophotons have been detected and imaged. As you point out yourself, just because there is much pseudoscience spouted on the internet about biophotons does not mean that the subject itself is pseudoscientific nonsense. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:01, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Popp proposed that the radiation might be both semi-periodic and coherent.[edit]

Coherent? Given the stated intensity no more than 1 photon will be in existence at a time so coherence is meaningless. For semi-periodic this needs a reference and a believable one at that. If no such reference can be found then this needs to go into the Pseudoscience section. Mtpaley (talk) 23:11, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

It has even been proposed that biophotons play an important role in consciousness - still pseudoscience[edit]

The reference for this is terrible. For example

"photons interact with beating cilia lining those ventricles and are guided by the beat timing to form interference patterns in the ventricular spaces, creating an interface (a nexus) through which a tiny portion of the "light of God" is able to animate the corpus"

" The other source of light available to interact with endogenous photons is the larger population of virtual photons filling space outside our normal frame of reference. Conventional wisdom has virtual photons popping in and out of existence even within our own frame of reference, but has little to say about the vast network of interconnected light that virtual photons must inhabit outside of our normal frame of reference because light experiences no time. The endogenous light nexus thus brings a tiny volume of that virtual photon network into contact with and control of a brain and body, and it is in that virtual network that the self-awareness of consciousness actually resides "

Another section "Kaznacheyev announced that his research team in Novosibirsk had detected intercellular communication by means of these rays". Reference is stated but not available but the summary is "The Cycles of Heaven: Cosmic Forces and What They Are Doing to You."

More work is required in separating the pseudoscience from genuine science. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mtpaley (talkcontribs) 23:20, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Quackery vs Controversy[edit]

This article was almost deleted on the grounds that it consisted mainly of pseudoscience and quackery. I was one of those instrumental in saving it because there is some limited genuine research into the subject.

On the other hand, most of the material to be found on the internet on the subject is pure pseudoscientific nonsense. We need to make this clear, not just for the benefit of our readers but to avoid another move to delete the article on the grounds that it is all pseudoscience.

'Controversy' is too weak a word to describe what is cited as an example in the section below, which is just a word salad. We need to make clear that there is no science in this at all. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:45, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

I suggested 'controversy' as a compromise after 'outrageous' was deleted. But I agree with your take on the article and am personally fine with stronger wording. --Mark viking (talk) 09:16, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I have added some criticism regarding quantum medicine and biophoton therapy with additional references to back it up. I think emphasizing that these claims are unproven psuedoscience is probably the way to go. --Mark viking (talk) 10:25, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

... what, no healer quackery?[edit]

I'm a little disappointed nobody referenced so-called Divine Healers under the psuedoscience/quackery section. Branham - most likely having seen the Nat Enquirer, declared "the whole body is made of light! and that light is life force! x-rays steal life force!" or something to that effect. Totally insane. (talk) 16:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Why not add something yourself? Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:57, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Academic speculation[edit]

The is some conflation in the section between the, highly speculative, theory that biophotons are a form of cellular communication and the, more mainstream, research which shows that biophotons could be a useful measure of cell stress of various kinds. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:03, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

There is some scientific support[edit]

I'm working on another page for a project for my intro neuroscience class, and I have come across a medium-small but still decent amount of articles from accepted scientific journals (and I hadn't even been specifically searching the topic) that support the existence of bio-photons. Much of the information out there does seem to be quackery, but some very new articles do approach the topic in a serious manner. I was able to access these articles through Scopus and similar databases, most of which require an account (which I get through my college) so unfortunately the information isn't quite as accessible to the general public. I just wanted to say that there is serious scientific work in this field, so perhaps the page doesn't warrant total deletion. And I'd be happy to point someone towards the articles that I was able to find. Joy1818 (talk) 01:41, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

I think it has already been agreed that there is some reality to biophotons although there is much pseudoscience associated with the subject. Please let us know what you wish to add or, of course, add it yourself with references. I do not think that there would be any problem in providing short extracts from your sources for readers here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:36, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Repeated Content and Circular Info on the Web[edit]

This article is out of date and there are numerous references on the web, including encyclopedia entries, that use the exact same language as this article. The mention in the article indicating the power of biophotons detected in living systems is repeatedly used on other pages, and no references are provided for any of them. I have updated the page with a reference from Fritz Popp, and I updated the language accordingly.

The duplicate entries all over the web appear to indicate that there is little information available about this topic. It also calls into question the origination of this text. In order to clean this up, I have rewritten the introductory paragraphs to make them more readable and accessible. There are many other changes that need to be made on this page, for example, there are recent studies that have investigated cellular communication and the effects of ultraviolet light on abrasions. Additional modifications could result in a very valuable source of information since most of the information that I found on the internet is currently out of date related to this topic. Tunsa (talk) 09:33, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Chemical Ultraviolet light[edit]

There is no known chemical process that produces ultraviolet light. There is also no known process in nature that can produce non-thermal ultraviolet light. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:32, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Research and Papers[edit]

There is no evidence that biophotons are imaginary or a hoax. The Kyobashi Biophoton lab has undertaken extensive research and the results are obvious proof. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Removing "there are always charlatans who believe in these miracles."[edit]

I would like to delete this quote:"there are always charlatans who believe in these miracles." only because it is a vocabulary mistake. Charlatans are the ones who perpetuate the belief in miracles. It is the victims of charlatans that believe. It can be argued that the essential meaning and intent of the phrase is fairly obvious. Still, I don't think such a mistake should be directly quoted. The article would be better served if the quote was replaced by a paraphrase that makes more sense. Cuvtixo (talk) 13:51, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Kenneth J. Dillon (2008). "Chapter 9 Theory of the Red Blood Cells". Intriguing Anomalies: An Introduction to Scientific Detective Work. Scientia Press. ISBN 0-9642976-8-4 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). Retrieved 2009-02-05.